9 Things Pop Culture Taught Us About Fashion...That Are Totally Wrong

Movies and television teach us a lot of things. When we were younger, we learned how to flirt with boys and conduct a séance. Nowadays, those big screens impart fashion inspiration, life lessons — even how not to treat our loved ones. But, reflecting the nitty-gritty on the fashion industry? Think again. Hollywood loves to glamorize life in the land of fashion with runway shows, high-budget photo shoots, and beautiful people (so many beautiful people!).
In reality, things in the industry are a little less, well, ridiculous. Sure, we love a good escape as much as the next person, but some of these portrayals are downright laughable. So, as we wind down the international Fashion Week circuit, we got to thinking about all the ways in which real life just doesn't jive with movie life. For starters, while we've had some over-the-top bosses (ahh, life before R29!), no one's ever asked us to track down an unpublished manuscript for the latest Harry Potter novel. And, sadly, most assistants never get to go to Paris Fashion Week (sorry, Andrea!). Ahead, we're breaking down nine myths that script writers have perpetuated, and giving you real deets instead.
Advertisement
1 of 9
Photo: Courtesy of Warner Brothers
No one in fashion checks references.

If you're going by Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead, then all you have to do to get your fashion dream job is to walk right up to your favorite design house, and produce the world's fakest résumé. It doesn't matter if you've never worked a day in your life or known a single person listed in your references — you've got pluck and tenacity! In the real world, your connections are everything. Not to mention the fact that no employer would take your deception in stride and offer you another job after you outed yourself as a fake. Now, there's a good way to get yourself fashion blacklisted.
2 of 9
Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Everyone in the fashion industry is mean to each other.

In The Devil Wears Prada, cattiness reigns supreme at the fictional Runway, and no one is safe from Miranda's — or anyone else's — criticism. While real-life magazines do keep dress codes to a high standard, no one's going to force you into Louboutins, or make you feel bad if you choose to show up in flats (most of the time).
Advertisement
3 of 9
Photo: Courtesy of MTV
Everyone in fashion is famous or connected.

If you went by life on The City, you'd probably think that the fashion industry is just giving jobs away to famous people. Luckily, that's not the case. We love ourselves some Olivia Palermo, but we know a farce when we see one — there's no way someone with zero journalism experience would get a full-time job at one of the biggest 'zines. A contributor gig, maybe, but you certainly wouldn't have sit-downs with the mag's creative director on the reg. Luckily for us (literally), fashion jobs come to those willing to work hard and put in time.
4 of 9
Photo: Courtesy of Paramount
If you're pretty, people beg you to be a model.

Oh, to be Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face. There you are, going through your intellectually satisfying life, working at your bookstore, when two magazine bigwigs sweep you up, give you a makeover, and send you to Paris for a glamorous runway show. It doesn't matter how many times you turn them down — You're too serious for things like fashion! You're into philosophy! — they're going to pursue you because you're just so darn beautiful. Except that, for actual models, it's a little bit trickier. Everyone is beautiful, and yet only a small few ever gain success. Modeling is hard, tireless work that is usually anything but glamorous, and ain't no one gonna do you any favors.
5 of 9
Photo: Courtesy of The CW
Interns call the shots at design houses.

Jenny Humphrey's employment at Waldorf Designs was only a drop in the bucket of Gossip Girl's break from reality, but we don't have all day here. In the show's second season, Jenny serves as an intern for Eleanor, and her talent and creativity prove to be so astronomical that Eleanor uses a bunch of her designs in the upcoming collection. We're going to put this nicely: This will never, ever happen. Sure, interns in the fashion industry are encouraged to be proactive and hard-working, but they would never even get facetime with the head of the company. At this writer's last magazine gig, for example, there were 29 fashion interns and one chair to share between them. They were just happy to get off their feet for a hot minute, much less run the company.
6 of 9
Photo: Courtesy of MTV
If you work at a fashion magazine, all you do is sit at your computer and gossip.

Ah, to be an intern in The Hills world. Come to work late, leave early, and spend all your time rehashing your personal drama in your own private gossip chamber. Off the screen, magazines are a place of business. Fashion pubs have their fair share of fun, sure, but most of the time everybody is too busy doing their jobs to chat incessantly.
7 of 9
Photo: Courtesy of Paramount
People actually care about male models.

Okay, that sounded harsh. What we mean is, Zoolander leads viewers to believe that male models are the hottest thing to hit the industry since sliced bread, and that rivalries abound. Editors, designers, and fashion fans are actually way more into the ladies of the industry — Coco! Karlie! Kate! And, even the rivalry was exaggerated; while egos can get in the way of some things, models generally get along swimmingly, and have each other's backs on the reg.
8 of 9
Photo: Courtesy of Universal
Everyone in fashion is a diva.

Do we like to look good? Yes. Do we spend more of our paychecks on shoes, bags, and the perfect pair of jeans than the average person? Possibly. But, don't go assuming that every star of the industry is as high maintenance as Brüno. Sure, we may have a penchant for leather booties, but we're not going so far as to sleep in a seaweed body wrap under Zac Posen nightshirts.
9 of 9
Photo: Courtesy of HBO
No one falls on the runway.

When Sex and the City takes Carrie on her infamous strut down the runway in those sequin panties (unrealistic in itself, but we're willing to let that go), her faceplant was the biggest shock to hit the fashion show. In reality, those overworked models suffer all sorts of injuries — to their egos and otherwise. Long days in high heels make for some pretty unsteady sea legs, and showgoers are, unfortunately, used to seeing things go a bit awry. However, the standing ovation Carrie received after she jumped back up to her feet is right on point.
Advertisement

More from Entertainment

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.